Snake with a 'foot/hand/claw' Evolution in progress?

By on September 15, 2009 2:27:52 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Moosetek13

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/6187320/Snake-with-foot-found-in-China.html

Interesting. A snake that has a 'foot' (or hand or claw, depending how you might classify such things) growing out of its side.

Does this confirm, or deny, the theory of evolution?

On one hand it confirms it, since we can see a change in a life form from one generation to the next. (whether it can be passed on to another generation will probably have to wait for a full autopsy - and if it actually goes into the genome)

On the other hand, nearly all of these anomalies are very short lived and do not reproduce much (if at all). More common for snakes is to be born with two heads, which tend bite each other to death.

 

I wonder, with the amount of time we humans have had to observe and record such things, why we haven't seen more direct evidence of 'evolution in action' actually producing new viable species.

If someone can show me something I am unaware of... please do. Because personally, I can't see how random mutations of a single-celled lifeform, in a mere 3.5-4 billion years, can account for the diverse and interdependant life that we have on this planet.

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September 15, 2009 2:49:31 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

On the other hand, nearly all of these anomalies are very short lived and do not reproduce much (if at all).
Yes, usually some scientifically ignorant carnivore has the things for lunch.  There are probably thousands of mutations of current species occuring every day, its just they die/get killed before we ever see them - natural selection at work.  When species do have an advantageous mutation, like this snake (I mean, it climbed a wall!  How many snakes do you know that can do that?) we know about them - rather unfortunately like this, where someone has killed them due to how horrifying/beautiful they are.  Not meaning the snake is beautiful, but say...an albino lion - how many of them do you see?  Trust humans to make natural selection unnatural.

Because personally, I can't see how random mutations of a single-celled lifeform, in a mere 3.5-4 billion years, can account for the diverse and interdependant life that we have on this planet.
Evolution occurs expotentially - the more species there are in existance, the more mutations that can occur to produce new species, and so on.  Fairly simple mathematics really.  I=Ae^kt  - expotential growth and decay over time.

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September 15, 2009 2:54:45 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

Probably a result of a relatively minor mutation. Maybe not even that. Genetic codes are full of stuff that doesn't get used, but it only takes a minor gene expression error to cause something like this, or the occasional human tail.

The human genetic code is about 99% identical to that of chimps. It's a rare genetic condition, but occasionally people grow full coats of fur. I don't think I've ever seen an official study of it, but I imagine a snake's genome is at least as similar to that of a lizard or crocodile. The genes are always present to make fur for us or legs for the snake, they just don't get expressed.

If you look at a snake skeleton you will find all the usual bones are actually there, they just don't develop. Bones identifiable as the pelvis, shoulders, limbs, etc are all present, they just don't develop as do the bones of limbed lizards.

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September 15, 2009 3:06:01 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

So, do the math on that first single-celled lifeform.

How long would it take to let it become a viable multi-celled lifeform that reproduces via meiosis vs. mitosis?

How long would it take? How long would it take for the one cell to mutate into something different - considering your "Evolution occurs expotentially - the more species there are in existance, the more mutations that can occur to produce new species, and so on."

One single cell of life, reproducing by copying itself exactly - into... over just how much time?

And going from a mere copy into needing two completely different lifeforms to make a single?

 

How long?

Show me the math.

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September 15, 2009 3:30:39 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Moosetek13,
So, do the math on that first single-celled lifeform.

How long would it take to let it become a viable multi-celled lifeform that reproduces via meiosis vs. mitosis?.
While I won't be answering, I would like to point out that mitosis is not the most simple form of reproduction.  Binary fission is in fact much simpler.  Considering that the first single-celled lifeform was most likely not eukaryotic, but indeed prokaryotic, this disinction is necessary as prokyotes do not reproduce by mitosis.

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September 15, 2009 3:41:32 AM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

sigh

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September 15, 2009 3:52:45 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Moosetek13, you might wish to be more familiar with how evolution works.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution

As it stands, this mutation in this snake in itself neither confirms nor denies the Theory of Evolution. If anything, it simply is evidence by itself that mutation occurs. With regards to your question of how we are unable to witness direct evolution, we are already able to observe it. I'm at work now and don't have time to dig up the published article about it, but a scientist called Richard Lenski experimented on a group of E. Coli and over the period of 20 years, observed that they eventually evolving to be able to consume citrate where it's predecessors were unable to. More here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment

If you want to observe more complex organisms (like the mammals and plants we see around us) evolve. You'd have to have a life span of millions of years.

3.5-4 billion years is a very very long time indeed. If that microbe was able to evolve to thrive on a previously inedible substance in 20years, why not the rich diversity we see now, them being all the countless tiny steps added up over the billions of years?

 

Edit: The lab experiment was over 20 years and the microbes were the E. Coli. Updated this post.

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September 15, 2009 3:54:35 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Moosetek13,
sigh
I only pointed it out because mitosis itself is an evolved form of reproduction. Sigh all you like.  I also hope you realize that meiosis doesn't require two different lifeforms, as there are multicellular organisms that reproduce asexually through meiosis.

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September 15, 2009 4:23:51 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Since we have fossil and genetic evidence that snakes evolved from lizards, it seems more likely that the animal in question is an atavist.  Meaning that it's expressing traits that had previously been "turned off".  Many cases of the "loss" of an structure over time are due to gentic "switches" being disabled, sometimes they get "turned back on" again.  While the snake in question (assuming that the story is true in the first place) is an extreme example, there are many similar instances in nature.  Dolphins with simple vestigial legs and human babies born with tales are some other examples. 

http://www.dimaggio.org/Eye-Openers/tails_in_humans.htm

BTW...did you know that you have on average 150 new mutations compaired to your parents, and they had (on average) the same number from their parents, and so-on, and so-on? It's a good thing that most mutations are harmless isn't it?

For what it's worth evolution isn't random and never has been, that's a common misunderstanding among many that were never taught properly on the subject.  Mutations can be random, but there are many other methods to create new traits in an organism.  Also selection acts as an sorting "mechanism".  As for the amount of time involved... that seems to ba a case of anthropocentrisim on your part.  Many other species have a much shorter time between generataions.  The more generations in a given amount of time, the more quickly new traits can arrise.

The fact of the matter is that new traits have been oberved evolving in bacteria under laboritory condidtions, not to mention the gentic and fossil evidence.  I'm curious as to what credible scientific evidence you have to offer for an alternative position?  Simply making an Argument from Incredulity and an Argument from Ignorance does nothing to support any alternative positions.

 

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September 15, 2009 5:18:20 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Assuming Evolution is true then this is not a sign of Evolution in progress, just mutation.  A snake would not evolve legs like that in some kind of evolutionary jump, not how evolution is meant to work anyway.  It would develop some fairly insignificant appendage through mutation and then perhaps that would give it some advantage to the rest of it's species.  Barring bad luck then it's children and childrens children should survive better.  Later on further mutation may mean that appendage becomes longer and perhaps with joints and then fingers/toes each thing giving an advantage.

Evolution does not try and claim that all of a sudden snakes grew fully formed legs like a lizard, with toes and joints, and if there had been evolutionary steps that led to the snake in the picture then people would have found these snakes with limbs before.

 

Again, assuming Evolution is true, this can only show that the snake pictured has descendants that were lizards with limbs.  That at some point a Lizard was born that mutated to not grow limbs and it survived well, perhaps better at something than the limbed Lizards or rather able to survive in a different area or coexist.  The mutation would have been something that inhibited the development of a certain part of it's DNA.  This snake mutated to stop inhibiting the part in it's DNA to create that limb.

Either that of a Lizard raped a snake.

 

That's all assuming this isn't a hoax of course

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September 15, 2009 7:34:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums
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September 15, 2009 8:26:15 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

For the snakes leg it's most likely not evolutiont hat occured but more devolution.

The ancestors of snakes were 4 leged reptiles, even in modern snakes we see that they still have remains of hind legs, those remains are largely useless.

what happene din thsi snake is simply a genetic anormaly that was randoly caused by nature or caused by chemicals/toxins/polution released in the invivroment by humans that had the effect of reactivating a long dormant gene int he snake that cause ti to grow it's leg.

How ever intersting thing to note is teh teh snake grew just 1 leg and not 2 or 4. So this alone tells us thatthe gene was only activated localy, for if it was activated generaly then the otehr hinde leg would also have growed and we might or might not have seen for limb developement.

As for would thsi snake's kid's have legs too? Probably not since this seems a local gene activation that accured only in the cells of a specify part of the body. Meaning this gene is unlikely to be found in the reproductie cells of this snake since the gene does not seem to be fully activated in the whole of the snakes genome.

But only the autopsie and DNA analasis and comparasion can tell us if this is the case or not.

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September 15, 2009 9:18:04 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I dont know about it being evolution or not, but when I saw that picture I could only think of one thing...

 

TROGDOR was a man!  TROGDOR was a, uh, dragon-man!  Well, maybe he was just a dragon!

TROGDOR!!!  Burninating the village!

TROGDOR!!!  Burninating the peasants!

 

http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail58.html

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September 15, 2009 10:03:13 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Not evolution, just a random reactivation of long-dormant genes. A whole leg doesn't develop from nowhere.

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September 15, 2009 10:14:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I always find the points of how similar our dna is to ___________ interesting.  Heck, our DNA is 88% the same as a bananna.  

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September 15, 2009 12:57:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I forgot who it is, but there's a well known study involving bacteria evolving to survive within citric acid in a laboratory.

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September 15, 2009 12:59:52 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Ima go with everyone else on this, its a mutation. I cant possibly imagine the use of 1 fully developed leg on a snake. Obviously the only thing it did for this snake was to climb a wall. Which if this leg was meant to help snakes climb better. Evolution would of gave it 2 legs not just one. Also as said before. The legs would have appeared less pronounced at first then over time became longer and more developed. Of course nature is strange. look at the Phlatypus. Just a 1 armed snake would seem more of a easy target for any predator then an actual legless snake.

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September 15, 2009 5:50:57 PM from GalCiv II Forums GalCiv II Forums

It is, as stated, a mutation. It's a particularly easy mutation, though, because all it has to do is turn off the gene that keeps snakes from growing limbs. Snakes are descended from species which DID have limbs, and rather than having the code for said limbs "removed" (a virtual genetic impossibility) study of snake genetic code reveals that there are simply additional genetic components which prevent the limb-growing genes from being expressed. Turn off the "confounder" gene, and you get a limb like this.

 

A good (fairly science-heavy) article on this subject is available over at John Wilkins' blog:

 

http://evolvingthoughts.net/2009/09/15/atavisms-and-phylogeny/#more-3168

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September 15, 2009 6:32:20 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting ,

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/6187320/Snake-with-foot-found-in-China.html

Interesting. A snake that has a 'foot' (or hand or claw, depending how you might classify such things) growing out of its side.

Does this confirm, or deny, the theory of evolution?

On one hand it confirms it, since we can see a change in a life form from one generation to the next. (whether it can be passed on to another generation will probably have to wait for a full autopsy - and if it actually goes into the genome)

On the other hand, nearly all of these anomalies are very short lived and do not reproduce much (if at all). More common for snakes is to be born with two heads, which tend bite each other to death.

 

I wonder, with the amount of time we humans have had to observe and record such things, why we haven't seen more direct evidence of 'evolution in action' actually producing new viable species.

If someone can show me something I am unaware of... please do. Because personally, I can't see how random mutations of a single-celled lifeform, in a mere 3.5-4 billion years, can account for the diverse and interdependant life that we have on this planet.

 

As others have said, it's a mutation and not evolution. It simply proves gene theory; that all life based on the same building blocks which are passed down from generation to generation. How those genes got there/started reproducing is debatable depending on your views, but it's quite clear that either God created everything using DNA, and in snakes included a supressed gene for legs, or that evolution is true and that at some point long ago snakes branched off from an animal that did have legs thus having the capability to produce them, it's just turned off.

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September 15, 2009 8:29:37 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

As others have said, it's a mutation and not evolution. It simply proves gene theory; that all life based on the same building blocks which are passed down from generation to generation. How those genes got there/started reproducing is debatable depending on your views, but it's quite clear that either God created everything using DNA, and in snakes included a supressed gene for legs, or that evolution is true and that at some point long ago snakes branched off from an animal that did have legs thus having the capability to produce them, it's just turned off.

My apologies for nitpicking, but either God or Evolution? Are you suggesting that there is as much evidence to back up the God hypothesis as the Theory of Evolution? Either case would have to be equally convincing (via available evidence), and compliant with our previous observations, to be of equal footing and there is a lot of evidence for evolution.

Assuming Evolution is true...

Evolution is observed to be true. It's just Natural Selection, the mechanism of which it goes by, that may still have room for debate. Though so as far as I know, it is already very convincing.

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September 15, 2009 11:07:40 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

wow that looks very interesting.

 

 

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September 16, 2009 12:42:19 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting SyDaemon,

As others have said, it's a mutation and not evolution. It simply proves gene theory; that all life based on the same building blocks which are passed down from generation to generation. How those genes got there/started reproducing is debatable depending on your views, but it's quite clear that either God created everything using DNA, and in snakes included a supressed gene for legs, or that evolution is true and that at some point long ago snakes branched off from an animal that did have legs thus having the capability to produce them, it's just turned off.
My apologies for nitpicking, but either God or Evolution? Are you suggesting that there is as much evidence to back up the God hypothesis as the Theory of Evolution? Either case would have to be equally convincing (via available evidence), and compliant with our previous observations, to be of equal footing and there is a lot of evidence for evolution.


Assuming Evolution is true...
Evolution is observed to be true. It's just Natural Selection, the mechanism of which it goes by, that may still have room for debate. Though so as far as I know, it is already very convincing.

 

I said nothing of the evidence to support God over Evolution or vice versa. My point was whether you believe in Evolution or Intelligent Design that you can't argue about gene theory. So either God used DNA to create life and included what seems like unnecessary genes in many animals, or evolution is true and the snake is the distant relative of something that did have legs, which is why it can produce them even if it ussually doesn't. You can decide for yourself what seems more likely or has more evidence to support it.

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September 16, 2009 3:43:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I, for one, welcome our new legged-snake overlords. 

 

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September 19, 2009 4:42:53 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

I said nothing of the evidence to support God over Evolution or vice versa. My point was whether you believe in Evolution or Intelligent Design that you can't argue about gene theory. So either God used DNA to create life and included what seems like unnecessary genes in many animals, or evolution is true and the snake is the distant relative of something that did have legs, which is why it can produce them even if it ussually doesn't. You can decide for yourself what seems more likely or has more evidence to support it.

My point is, is that you seem to indicate that both Evolution and Intelligent Design are hypotheses on equal footing, that one may either believe or disbelieve in either with no implications. Evolution is a scientific theory (like Gravitational Theory) while Intelligent Design is an unproven hypothesis with strong religious motivations.

To presume the freedom to choose between the two is to ignore all the evidence we've already accumulated that supports the Theory of Evolution.

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September 19, 2009 10:16:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

My point is, is that you seem to indicate that both Evolution and Intelligent Design are hypotheses on equal footing, that one may either believe or disbelieve in either with no implications.

Well, to be fair, you probably could believe in either without any significant implications.

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September 19, 2009 11:29:05 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Well, to be fair, you probably could believe in either without any significant implications.

I beg to differ. If someone can believe in Intelligent Design in the face of such overwhelming evidence, that same person can be made to believe in many other things by the same mechanism. THAT is a serious implication.

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